With so many options to choose from today, one has to ask whether it’s easier or actually harder to choose the best pool setup for your backyard. The most popular materials at the moment – fibreglass, concrete and vinyl – each have their own pros and cons. Let’s find out the basic advantages of the fibreglass swimming pool option.
Easy to maintain
At this point, no one can argue that fibreglass pools require the least maintenance of the three, especially when compared to concrete pools. The secret lies in surface porosity: due to the layer of gel coat, fibreglass pools are virtually non-porous, denying algae place to hold on and thrive. On the other hand, concrete pool owners have to brush the sides of their pools every week. Fibreglass pools are also pH inert and don’t affect water chemistry in any way, unlike concrete ones, which need daily doses of muriatic acid to lower the water pH.
No liner replacement
Most in-ground pools with a vinyl liner need to have their liner replaced every 7-11 years, sometimes even more often. Vinyl liners don’t come cheap, with prices of $4k to $5k and upwards. Concrete pools, on their part, need at least one acid wash every few years and need resurfacing after 15 years of use, which is not a small expense. Since a fibreglass swimming pool has no liner, there’s no risk that the pool surface will get punctured or damaged in any other way. Today’s fibreglass pools are manufactured to the highest standards for durability and resilience to last a lifetime.
Compatible with salt systems
Saltwater pools are a big trend among homeowners, and not without a reason. Salt chlorinators provide high water quality and low maintenance environment, since pool algae can’t survive in saltwater. However, just as de-icing salt is harsh on the surface of pavement, ‘pool salt’ takes heavy toll on the concrete pool surface. Despite their liners, many vinyl pools are constructed with metal wall panels, which together with aluminium coping around the perimeter makes for an unfavourable combination. If the vinyl liner is damaged only slightly, the salt water will leak behind and start corroding the panel.
Simple to install
Any pool installer will tell you that when it comes to vinyl pools, the outdoor temperature needs to be ideal for the liner not to wrinkle when installed. It’s equally agonising with concrete, as the rain and cold or hot temperatures can slow down or postpone the installation. On the other hand, with a contemporary fibreglass swimming pool, no act of Mother Nature can affect the process. Once the site is excavated to your pool plan, the builders deliver the shell and place it into the ground, together with all plumbing and filtration systems.
Since the fibreglass shell is manufactured off-site, the installation causes minimum disruption to your backyard and family routines. From the excavation to laying the structural pool beam along the edges, the whole process takes about two days. When you compare this to three to six months it takes to build a concrete pool, you have to take into account the time during which your backyard is in disarray. Unfavourable weather conditions may even make the difference between swimming this summer and waiting until next year.
Over the past few decades, fibreglass in-ground pools have evolved from white plastic bathtubs you’d likely find at a rental beach house into gracious pool designs that incorporate aesthetic features once available only in high-end designer customs. The advancement in pool industry, including beautiful coloured finishes, ceramic tiles, tanning ledges, as well as water features, pool lights, elevated spa add-ons and poolside walls, have given fibreglass pools a huge market share in the past few years.
Unlike vinyl pools, which can accidentally get damaged by pets, tree branches and patio furniture that fall in, fibreglass pools are extremely strong and durable. They are able to withstand daily use for many years in all weather conditions. It should come as no surprise then, that manufactures happily issue a 25-year structural warranty for the shell, which is flexible and adjusts easily to ground conditions.
Choosing the most suitable swimming pool for your home doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Although there are still many homeowners and installers who swear by concrete and vinyl pools, it’s evident that on many points, they are no match to modern fibreglass swimming pool designs.
Lillian Connors can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on.